Coronavirus COVID 19

Government places private health at disposition of regional governments

News - 2020.3.15

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Moncloa Palace, Madrid

Following the declaration of the state of emergency throughout the country for a period of 15 days, and the ensuing delegation of powers to four ministerial departments, headed up by the Ministers for Health, Salvador Illa, for Defence, Margarita Robles, for Home Affairs, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, and for Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda, José Luis Ábalos, a series of measures have been presented to tackle the emergency health situation caused by coronavirus COVID-19 in Spain.


With the aim of strengthening the National Health System, Minister Salvador Illa announced that all private health facilities and resources will be placed in the hands of regional health councillors in their respective regions. Furthermore, all the contracts of resident doctors in the final years of training in the specialised fields that are necessary to deal with the situation caused by coronavirus, will be extended in order to ensure greater availability of healthcare professionals.

Pool Moncloa / Borja Puig de la BellacasaIn addition, and with the same objective, on an exceptional and temporary basis, people may be hired with a degree or qualification in the healthcare professions, who have not yet specialised. Lastly, the minister stated that retired healthcare professionals under the age of 70 must make themselves available in case the regional authorities require their services at this exceptional time.

As regards the supply of material and products, Minister Illa stated that a period of 48 hours will now begin for all those companies and individuals that have products necessary at this time to protect health, such as face masks, to communicate their stock and location. In addition, companies that have the productive capacity to manufacture them must also communicate this to the Ministry of Health.

The minister indicated that these are exceptional measures in response to the worst challenge to public health we have seen in our recent history. Salvador Illa expressed his gratitude to the exemplary civic conduct displayed by Spanish society and by all the healthcare professionals in this country.


Minister Ábalos called for responsibility from society and to only travel when it is unavoidable with the goal of minimising the risk of contagion

Pool Moncloa / Borja Puig de la BellacasaWith this aim in mind, a decision was taken to reduce the offer of public transport services by road, train, plane and ship under the State's authority by 50%. As regards regional and local jurisdiction, any regional or local authority can set the percentage of reduction in the public transport services under its control that it deems opportune.

In addition, as regards hygiene, in order to try and reduce the risk of contagion as far as possible, passenger transport service operators are obliged to clean all vehicles daily, following the recommendations established by the Ministry of Health.

The public operator Renfe will reduce its offer of high-speed tickets by 85% and its trains may only hold one-third capacity to guarantee distances between passengers.

Home Affairs

The Minister for Home Affairs issued an order establishing the common criteria for all law enforcement agencies, which must act in a coordinated fashion under the command of the Ministry of Home Affairs with the aim of complying with such measures as the control of movements, support for the work of the health authorities, guarantee the supply of food and basic needs and ensure the functioning of critical infrastructures.

Pool Moncloa / Borja Puig de la BellacasaThe minister also announced that all citizen security plans will be strengthened, such as the Enhanced Security Plan, particularly aimed at prevention and enhancing the safety of the elderly.

The Royal Decree establishes that all services for intervention and assistance in civil protection emergencies will act under the functional hierarchy of the Ministry of Home Affairs. The first meeting of the State Committee for the Coordination of Civil Protection will be held on Monday, at which all regions and public authorities will be represented. Minister Marlaska stated that no noteworthy incidents took place on the first day of application of the state of emergency, "which shows the civic nature and responsibility of our citizens", he stressed.


Minister Robles ordered the deployment of the Emergency Military Unit (Spanish acronym: UME) in cities where contingents are based (Madrid, Valencia, Seville, Zaragoza, Leon, Las Palmas and Santa Cruz de Tenerife). The UME is carrying out reconnaissance of the areas of these cities with the highest risk of the spread of the virus. The UME will gradually be deployed to other cities as and where it may be needed. It will perform actions necessary to help transport, citizens, goods and surveillance services, should this be necessary.

Pool Moncloa / Borja Puig de la BellacasaAll of the resources of military hospitals will also be placed at the disposal of the Ministry of Health and instructions have been given to the military pharmacy to increase the preparation of alcohol-based hand disinfectant and other generic mediation that may be necessary. All reserve military doctors have also been called up.

The armed forces will collaborate with the National Police and the Guardia Civil. Should it become necessary to organise evacuations, the Air Force will be made available; as well as the Navy and the Marines. Measures will be taken together with the Ministry of Social Affairs to help the homeless, and the UME and the Army will distribute food.

Non official translation